Dogs have a high level of intellect; however, not all breeds are recognized for this trait. Some dog breeds are known to be more intelligent than others. The Jack Russell, Dachshund, and the German Shepherd are some of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. Similarly, hounds and hunting dog breeds are just as intelligent but have absolutely no interest in obeying human language and commands—they’d much rather follow their noses. But what about those that do seem to understand and obey language? Do dogs speak different languages?
Dogs are incapable of speaking any language that is used by humans, including English and all the other languages. But when it comes to their own language and ability to communicate amongst themselves, dogs can speak and understand the same “language” regardless of breed or location. They do not have multiple languages in the same way that we humans do. Even dogs that are from different continents can understand and speak with one another quickly, which indicates there is just one same “language” used by all canines throughout the world.
Dogs’ voice tones, pitches, and frequencies may differ from one individual to another, just as happens in humans, but they still speak the same language.
However, dogs do acquire the ability to comprehend both spoken and signed language when it comes to communicating with their human companions. Your dog will pick up any language you speak, whether it is English, German, or another language entirely.
Similarly, your dog pays attention to your voice along with your particular way of speaking, and with sufficient practice, your dog will grasp the words you use to give the commands and categorize items in the surroundings, thereby seeming to learn your primary language by association.
How exactly do we define the dog language?
A dog’s “language” is made up of various signals, chiefly its body language, which includes things like the movement and orientation of the ears and tail but also how your pup stands in proximity to other canines. Dogs have their own natural, instinctual way of communicating with each other through their unique greetings and postures when interacting with a pup that is new or even one that is familiar.
As for human interactions, when you consistently associate the words you use with the behaviors you desire from your pooch, you are teaching your dog a “language.” Your dog may pick up terms that you were not specifically training him to know, but if you use such words in combination with positive experiences, he may pick them up anyhow. For instance, when dogs hear the phrase “meal” or “food,” many dogs will immediately start rushing toward their owners.
Dogs are unable to speak in the way that we humans do, but they still communicate with their body language as well as the sounds they make. Have you ever thought that your dog was staring at you and attempting to comprehend what you were saying when you were having a conversation with him? It’s likely that you saw some warning signals that your pup was perplexed. It’s possible that when he or she looks at you, your dog’s nose and forehead will wrinkle. You may even observe a dog tilt their head as if to question, “What did you actually say?”
Your dog’s eyes may become more alert and brilliant when they are happy to see you. These are not just huge eyes; rather, they are eyes that are smiling and receptive to you. Many pet parents know that look of love when their pup is happy that they’ve returned home or are simply wanting some love and attention.
The fact that your dog’s ears are perked up is another indication that he or she is paying attention. Keep an eye on the direction in which your dog wags its tail, too. If you notice that your furry pal is wagging their tail or rear end to the right, this indicates that your pet is feeling happy. Some dogs get so excited that there’s simply no way to determine which way they’re wagging since their whole entire body starts wiggling in excitement.
Different emotions may be communicated through a dog’s barking as well. When a dog gets restless, it can frequently start barking for no apparent reason. Dogs will bark at you either to grab your attention so that you can let them in or out of the home, to let you know they’re feeling stressed, or to warn you that there is a potential threat. When they sense that someone is approaching their area, dogs will bark to warn off an intruder.
Play barks are pretty friendly and rapid. A certain noise—such as a scream or similar high-pitched sound—might be the impetus for your canine companion to start howling and singing along with it. If you hear your dog whimpering, you should pay close attention to what may be wrong since this could indicate that your four-legged friend is in pain or in trouble somehow.
Can dogs understand language?
For a long time, it was believed that dogs were just able to acquire commanding human words and did not actually comprehend what their owners were saying. It was thought that they were merely reacting to the tone of the words that were being said to them. These presumptions are being called into question by a recent study.
In a study conducted at Eotvos Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary, and published in the journal NeuroImage, the researchers were able to illustrate how a dog’s brain absorbs language. Eighteen dogs were selected and trained to remain in a scanning machine that analyzed the brain’s activity while the animal was awake. The canines were subjected to words in multiple languages, including hearing the primary known language of their human families used as well as unexpected phrases spoken in either a friendly or neutral tone in another language.
Based on the results of this study, dogs did not seem to have a preference for proper language nor words and speech that would otherwise be incomprehensible to humans. Simply put, we humans are wired to recognize speech patterns, but dogs are relatively unphased unless the speech sounds indicate something they recognize or if the words are delivered in a positive intonation that would indicate positive rewards for them.
Teaching your dog to understand multiple human languages
Your dog has the potential to learn many languages with the proper amount of instruction. Before you know it, they’ll be able to sit down when being spoken to in English and stand upright when being spoken to in German.
However, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. The ability of dogs to really learn new languages is not one they possess. Instead, they learn to make the connection between a term and its result (as mentioned above). It’s possible that your dog will struggle if you try to teach them to sit in three different languages simultaneously.
Instead, you should concentrate on teaching them various commands in various languages. There is an unmistakable association between a single phrase and a single deed in this sense. If your family speaks more than one language, you should make every effort to settle on a unified command phrase for your instruction sessions. Confusion will be reduced, and the learning process will move forward much more quickly.
Additionally, be consistent with its use once you decide on a term to use as a command. If you are learning how to say “sit” in Finnish, that is the word that you must speak in order for your furry pal to sit down, regardless of whether you are at home, at the park, or the veterinarian’s office.
In addition, if you are going to leave your dog in the hands of an experienced pet sitter, you are going to have to inform them of the terms that your dog is familiar with. Because of the potential for confusion that might arise from this, we advise that fundamental commands be introduced in the language that both you and the individuals who will have the most interaction with your dog speak. After that, you may teach them whatever language you want as you are teaching them to perform a particular behavior.
What is a strategy for teaching various languages to dogs with only one command?
The use of non-verbal instructions is a strategy that can be helpful if you have a dog that is very bright and if you are eager to teach it several commands that lead to the same result. Your dog can gain more perspective on what you really want them to perform by paying attention to your hand motions and facial expressions.
For example, if you tell your dog to “sit” and point to the floor at the same time, he will not only learn to correlate the word with the order but also the hand sign. At some point in the future, you will be able to communicate with your dog just via the use of the hand gesture. From that point on, your dog will understand the phrase as well as the gesture to indicate “sit.”
You may then proceed to teach your dog the term in some other language, and he or she should still understand what you are asking for because of the hand motion. As this is a challenging activity for them, so make sure to offer a lot of treats and provide plenty of vocal support. If you have a working dog that loves to learn, this is a wonderful way to work on both obedience and bonding.
Family Dog Expert Author
Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.